Mojave National Preserve. Mojave National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California, USA, between Interstate 15 and Interstate 40. The preserve was established October 31, 1994 with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act by the US Congress.
From late September to Spring, leave your cares at home and tour this amazing desert park. We covered much of it mid October with perfect mild weather, no wind, colorful sunsets, blue skies, and half-filled campgrounds.
HOLE IN THE WALL.
Whether you want to hang out at your campsite, or take any of the hiking trails, the scenery is spectacular.
In the middle of this National Park Campground is a State Park known as Mitchell Caverns. Jack Mitchell and his wife planned on mining, but turns out their claim included a beautiful limestone cavern. They forged a 30 mile road from the Route 66 town of Essex to the cave area, built a home that could accommodate over night guests and greeted guests who wanted a cave tour. Today rangers lead tours on the weekends.
Sadly Jack died in an accident while fixing his car. Eventually his wife and the family deeded the area including the house and cave to the State. For years cave tours were very popular but when the State ran short of funds, the area was closed. Vandalism occurred but not inside the cave. Now the park has reopened and tours are available.
GOFFS ON OLD ROUTE 66, HOME OF THE FRIENDS OF THE OLD MOJAVE ROAD AND NOW KNOWN AS THE MOJAVE DESERT CULTURAL AND HERITAGE ASSN. ONCE A DESERTED DESERT SPOT ANCHORED BY AN OLD 1914 SCHOOL HOUSE IN SAD DISREPAIR, IT IS NOW A WELL-RESPECTED HISTORICAL LANDMARK. THE SCHOOL HOUSE IS BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED AND SERVES AS AN OFFICE, MUSEUM AND BOOK STORE. THE FOUNDER IS DENNIS CASEBIER, AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN.
THIS STAMP MILL IS IN WORKING ORDER:
GOFFS IS ON OLD ROUTE 66
DURING THE RENDEZVOUS SEVERAL DAY TRIPS ARE OFFERED. WE OPTED TO JOIN THE CARAVAN TO TOUR THE DESERT HOME OF SILENT STARS REX BELL AND CLARA BOW. THEIR ABODE WAS KNOWN AS THE WALKING BOX RANCH AND IS LOCATED NEAR SEARCHLIGHT NEVADA.
WE MADE A STOP IN NIPTON. FORMERLY A QUIET LITTLE RETREAT WITH A B&B. CURRENTLY A CANNIBUS RESORT!
DEATH VALLEY MINE. The Death Valley Mine was discovered in 1906 by J. L. Bright of Kelso. In July, 1906, the Death Valley Gold Milling and Mining Company of Denver took over the mine, and by September, 1906, the camp of Dawson had sprung into existence, named after the directors of the company, the Dawson brothers.
A STOP IN BAKER FOR LUNCH AT THE MAD GREEK AND A RUN IN TO THE ALIEN JERKY AND IT WAS OFF TO THE TOWN OF SHOSHONE. Shoshone was founded in 1910 by Ralph Jacobus “Dad” Fairbanks, a Death Valley businessman.The town remains owned by his descendants.Shoshone was a stop on the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad which shut down in 1940. The town has a general store, a café, museum and a very nice RV resort with a spring fed pool and a birding pond. There is a trail in the campground that takes you to a pupfish pond.
AFTER A PLEASANT RIDE ALONG THE VALLEY FLOOR WE PULLED INTO FURNACE CREEK, STILL BASCIALLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION. SNAGGED A DRY CAMPSITE IN THE FIDDLER’S STAGE CAMPGROUND WITH ACCESS TO THE POOL, DATE GROVE TEMPORARY RESTAURANT AND NEAR THE VISITOR CENTER. THINGS SHOULD BE MORE TOGETHER NEXT YEAR. THE NEW GIFT SHOP IS COMPLETED AND VERY PRICEY.
STOVE PIPE WELLS
The first temporary settlement at Stovepipe Wells came into being when a road between Rhyolite and Skidoo was begun in 1906 to ameliorate the approach to the mine at Skidoo. A collection of tents was erected to serve travelers with food, drink and lodging.
In 1925, entrepreneur Bob Eichmann began construction of the hotel at Stovepipe Wells, along with a scenic toll road through Death Valley. This marked the beginning of the transition from mining community to tourist destination.
The settlement is now registered as California Historical Landmark #826
The campground has about 14 full hook up spots, the remainder are dry camping. TheTollhouse restaurant is very nice as is the gift shop and the general market. We especially liked the pool on clear warm desert days.
THIS SMALL DESERT OUTPOST CONSISTS OF A GAS STATION, RESTAURANT, HOTEL AND CAMPGROUND. IT IS QUIET AND PEACEFUL UNTIL YOU DISCOVER IT IS A LOW FLY ZONE AND FIGHTER PLANES PASS THROUGH LOUD AND LOW!
FINALLY WE REACH OUR MAIN DESTINATION, THE DIRT POOR TOWN OF TRONA. THIS IS THE TIME OF YEAR FOR THEIR GEM-O-RAMA! BUT THERE ARE MANY UNIQUE THINGS ABOUT THIS TOWN. THE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD IS THE LAST DIRT FIELD IN THE NATION. TO SEE THIS WE ATTENDED THE TRONA V. DESERT VARSITY GAME.
THE GOLF COURSE IS ALSO DIRT!
THE GEM SHOW FEATURES ROOMS AND ROOMS OF GEMS – ALL SORTS OF ROCKS, JEWELRY, ROCKHOUNDING TOOLS, AND EXHIBITS. I LOVE ROCKS, BUT I WAS REALLY IMPRESSED WITH THE LAVENDAR SPIKES.
WHAT IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE GEM O RAMA?
First is the Mud Run, where tons of rich, black gooey earth is dug from the “Overburden Mud” layer found about 10 to 20 feet below the static brine lakebed surface. Huge piles are dumped—more than 150 tons—for the participants to rummage through in hopes of finding six-sided flat “barrel” hanksite crystals up to four inches across. Massive trona clusters exhibiting clear, sharp “bladed” crystal clusters along with halite, smaller thenardite specimens, sulfohalite, and borax (which turns powdery white upon exposure to air) may also be collected during this field trip.
ONCE AT THE LAKEBED, THE PIPE IS DROPPED 40 FEET AND SUCKS UP THE MUDDY GOO AND THE CRYSTALS, SHOOTING THEM OUT ONTO THE LAKEBED. ONCE WE ARE GIVEN THE “GO” WE ALL RUN OUT ON THE AREA AND COLLECT WHATEVER WE FIND, BUCKET IN HAND.
THESE GEMS ARE FOUND, BUT NOT BY US:
WE ARE WARNED – DON’T SOAK YOU HALITE CRYSTALS IN WATER BECAUSE THEY ARE WATER SOLUABLE AND WILL DISAPPEAR. THE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLERS SELL CONTAINERS OF BRINE WATER WHICH IS SAFE TO USE TO CLEAN YOUR CRYSTALS. WE WORKED HARD ON THAT WITH SCRUB BRUSHES, TOOTHBRUSHES AND ELBOW GREASE
THE GEM-OR-RAMA IS GREAT FUN BUT THE TOWN OF TRONA REALLY NEEDS HELP. THE INHABITANTS LEAD A HARD SCRABBLE LIFE. MANY ARE EMPLOYED AT THE CHEMICAL PLAN BUT LOCAL HOUSING IS A PROBLEM AND PROBABLY HALF OF THE EXISTING HOMES ARE BOARDED UP AND UNINHABITABLE. MANY LIVE IN NEARBY RIDGECREST. BUT TRONA HAS HEART AND MUCH OF THE POPULATION HAS LIVED THERE FOR MANY YEARS. THEY HAVE A NICE MUSEUM AND THE GEM SHOW IS A COMMUNITY EVENT.
OK, TIME TO HEAD HOME BY WAY OF RED ROCK CANYON. THIS PICTURESQUE STATE PARK IS THE BACKDROP TO MANY FILMS.
AFTER 8 DAYS OF PERFECT WEATHER WE HEADED HOME TO HIT SANTA ANA WINDS THE CLOSER WE GOT TO DUARTE. ARRIVING HOME WE SAW THE DEVASTATION LEFT BY THE RECENT WIND EVENT – AND SET OUT TO RAKE LEAVES AND SAW UP FALLEN BRANCHES.
WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE THE HISTORIC AND GEOLOGIC WONDERS OF THE MOJAVE PROTECTED AND MAINTAINED IN GOOD CONDITION FOR ALL FUTURE GENERATION. LETS HOPE THAT STEWARDSHIP SURVIVES.